Can't Wait For Summer? This Salty-Sweet Side Salad Will Transport You There
When I started to write this headnote, my mouth began to water. West of Mexico City, in the city of Morelia, there is an area in el Centro, the historic district, near the cathedral where gaspacho (yes, it's spelled with an s) stands line the streets. Young men were working below each gaspacho sign, meticulously and quickly cutting not tomatoes and red bell peppers to make the famously chilled Spanish gazpacho soup but instead mango, jícama, and pineapple into tiny and perfect cubes to make gaspacho, a sweet and salty fruit snack.
By midday, the streets are filled with people carrying large plastic cups mounded with tiny cut fruit and topped with chile and queso Cotija.
Gaspacho showcases the incredibly sweet mangoes that grow in the state and Cotija, the salty-sharp cheese that is produced there as well. My version is more like a summery side dish than a grab-and-go midday snack. Since I really don't want to spend a lot of time cubing fruit, I use larger slices. I love gaspacho so much that I pair it with everything from grilled meat to fish.
Mango, pineapple, and jicama salad with an orange-lime dressing
Serves 4 to 6
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1 garlic clove, finely grated
- 1 chile de árbol (0.03 oz/0.8 g), stemmed and finely chopped, or ¼ teaspoon red chile flakes
- 1 teaspoon Morton kosher salt (0.21 oz/6 g)
- 1 large Tommy Atkins mango (14.5 oz/416 g), or 2 Ataúlfo or champagne mangoes, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced
- ¼ medium pineapple (10 oz/287 g), peeled, cored, and sliced into ½-inch pieces
- ½ large jícama (7.5 oz/214 g), peeled and thinly sliced
- ¼ medium white onion (3 oz/86 g), chopped
- ½ cup fresh mint leaves
- Crumbled queso Cotija (for serving)
- Tajín (for serving)
- Lime wedges (for serving)
- In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the oil, lime juice, orange zest, orange juice, garlic, chile de árbol, and salt until the salt has dissolved.
- In a large bowl, gingerly toss the mango, pineapple, jícama, onion, mint, and half of the dressing. Let sit for 5 minutes to let the flavors come together.
- Serve with any additional dressing drizzled over and top with the Cotija, Tajín, and a squeeze of lime juice.
Reprinted with permission from Mi Cocina: Recipes and Rapture From My Kitchen in Mexico by Rick Martinez copyright © 2022. Photographs copyright © 2022 by Ren Fuller. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
Rick Martínez is the beloved cook, food personality and author behind the New York Times best-selling cookbook, Mi Cocina: Recipes and Rapture from my Kitchen in Mexico, along with the host of the companion video series Mi Cocina and Sweet Heat, both on the Food52 YouTube channel and Pruébalo on the Babish Culinary Universe channel. He co-hosts the Borderline Salty podcast with Carla Lalli Music, is a regular contributor to The New York Times, and hosts Culinary Workshops for the Magnolia Network. He currently resides in Mazatlán with his dog, Choco, where he cooks, eats, and enjoys the Mexican Pacific coast.